Christianity

Happiness

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“Some people pursue happiness…others create it.” – Anonymous

Now and then in the midst of the daily struggle and grind, stop and remind yourself that you are – at this moment experiencing a miracle.  Each breath that you take is a life giving miracle.  Can you feel the heart beating in your chest? Another miracle.  No doctor or scientist can explain life – they can look at it, study it, pursue answers and seek to protect and prolong it, but they can’t explain it. 

Now that you have experienced the miracle of being alive, think about the miracles that allow you to learn, to read, to have emotions, to experience life.  Amazing what we take for granted most of the time. 

Joy, laughter, happiness are around you – created for you to experience.  The birds singing, the whispering leaves in the trees, the soft touch of the wind in your hair, the warmth of the sun on your face, all wonderous things in this life for you to enjoy.

Wouldn’t it be great if humans acted with the joy and abandon of a dog being let outside to play? They run full out, leaping and rolling, barking and howling into the wind, giving it their all in a moment of pure joy! Can you imagine a place where people could play like that?

When was the last time you just went outside, closed your eyes and listened to everything you could hear for awhile?  Amazing when our mind is relaxed, eyes are closed how much we can hear. 

Or the last time you ate a plate of fruit in low light – so you can better savor the flavors of each one and allow yourself to only concentrate on the taste?

Take a moment to try something different, remind yourself of the little things that can bring joy each day.  Life is too short to rush through in pursuit of happiness, find your bliss in the little things, then share a smile with a friend.

Cherry Coley (c)

Catch the Spirit – Pass it On

“He who is not thankful for little, will not be thankful for a lot.” – Chinese Proverb

I am thankful for holidays and especially for Christmas.  I am thankful Christmas symbolizes the birth of Christ, although according to Jewish calendars I think he was actually born around passover.  Still the music is beautiful, the images are wonderful and the peaceful, quiet that comes in winter with the cold weather adds to a sense of peace.

I love everything about Christmas.  The trees and beautiful decorations, the sparkling lights, the candles, the dishes, the spirit that comes to inhabit the homes of those that welcome Christmas.  I’m not talking about the commercialism and greedy parts that Christmas has grown into,  I’m speaking of the true love and caring spirit of Christmas.

What I really wish is that this spirit of Christmas would stay with us.  Not the rush, the hurried and frantic parts, but the quiet peace that is Christmas that settles after everything is done, all the presents are unwrapped, everyone is fed and happy, and content.  The quiet hush that comes after a day of excitement, sharing, celebrating and being with people that we love.

I used to love to watch my kids sleeping among their new stuffed animals at the end of the day, smiling and cuddling a new toy.  We are blessed, truly blessed.

Today and every day we can capture a little of the spirit that is Christmas.  It doesn’t have to be a holiday to show someone you care.  It doesn’t have to be Christmas to contact loved one’s you don’t talk to that often. Kindness doesn’t have a season, thankfulness doesn’t have a limit. 

In everything give thanks.  Thank you, God for giving us another day, let us use it wisely.

Cherry Coley (c) 

 

I Don’t Feel So Merry

christmas1It’s Christmas time.  Yesterday we had snow, just a light dusting, and it was beautiful.  There is a chill in the wind today, it makes me want to stay home by the fire and drink hot cocoa

I have been looking at Christmas decorations, but they don’t seem quiet as sparkly as they used too.  I have been avoiding Christmas music for the most part.  I simply cannot listen to much of the Christmas music yet.

I am trying, but the truth is I just don’t feel the Christmas spirit much this year.  I try to remember last year, but all I can think of is that my days with my mom were running out and I didn’t know it.  Instead she and I stayed up late talking on Dec. 11th.  We were talking about  how everything was going to be different without dad, and we should try to make new Christmas  traditions. 

We had a long conversation that night about past Christmas’, about new plans, about the Bible and our beliefs, about my kids and our family.  Mom and I talked late into the night enjoying each others company.  I missed her,  I had not seen her in a week or two since Casey was working and using my car more.

Now, the song that best describes how I feel is “Where Are You Christmas?”  The answer is, I am not sure.  I think Christmas is the same, the spirit is the same, it is me that has changed.  I am still healing, still searching for answers that don’t exist and longing for conversations I will not get to finish until I see my mom and dad again someday.

This Christmas is a little better than last year, but it still hurts, aches.  Yet I know that time, faith, and hope will eventually heal the hurts, though they won’t fill the gaping hole left in my heart where my parents once lived.  I miss them. 

If you’re parents are still here, take the time to go see them.  If they need you, listen, and be there for them as they were for you.  If you have family you haven’t talked to in awhile, here’s your chance, your excuse, break the ice, heal the rift and share the love while you still can.  Christmas is about love and that is the greatest gift of all, don’t miss out on this free and wonderful gift.

Cherry Coley (c)

 

Yip! There it is!

Today I am thankful for dogsGod really knew what He was doing when He created dogs.  I am wondering if Adam decided that “dog” was man’s best friend.  Can’t you see Adam and Eve getting in an argument?  Adam goes off to be alone, here comes dog to sit beside him, look at him with imploring eyes and cock his head to the side as Adam grumbles. 

I love dogs.  They are happy to see you whether you’ve been gone 5 minutes or 5 days, they act the same either way.  Dogs – when well taken care of – are predictable and steady lovers of everything you do.  Dogs readily show their enthusiasm by wagging their tails, smiling, barking and jumping up and down.  Honestly, I know our dogs get way more excited about going for a walk than I do, but their enthusiasm is contagious.

Dogs come equipped with sympathy and empathy vibes as well.  If you don’t feel well the dog will come and lie down beside you, if they can manage it they will prop their head on you for comfort and (hopefully) gain a pat on the head.

Dogs are bandits, comedians, clowns, racers, chasers, barkers, protectors, sniffers, fetchers, and sneaker eaters, but more than all of those, dogs are loyal companions and welcome friends. 

Take a moment today to enjoy the antics of a dog; it will brighten your day and the dogs too!

 Cherry Coley ©

Thankful for Small Acts of Kindness

Today I am thankful for small acts of kindness.

 Every act of kindness is like ripples on water, the effects are far reaching and potentially endless.

 I am thankful I am healthy and can offer a helping hand to the elderly if they need it at times.  I am happy to open a door for someone else or offer a kind word and a smile in the elevator.  I enjoy saying and hearing “Good Morning” to my co-workers and friends, both in person and on Face Book. 

 More than any of those things I am thankful that others also appreciate small acts of kindness.   Phrases like “please” and “thank you” can make a difference in what someone might be thinking about a situation or having to be slightly inconvenienced.

 I love to watch a son or daughter helping their parent in the store.  It reminds me of visits to the store with my mom.  While she was looking around the fruit and vegetable section, my daughters and I would divide up the rest of the list and bring it back to her.  This saved time, allowed her to look for her produce at her leisure, and kept her from getting too tired.

 Small acts of kindness can cause a person to pause, sooth an angry or upset spirit even on really bad days.  I have on occasion paid the toll for the person behind me on the toll way, or paid a cup of coffee for a stranger just because.  I once saw a priest pay for a book and rosary for a small child.

Small acts of kindness are like a tiny nudge or whisper saying “everything is going to be alright.”  My wish is that you would be touched by a small act of kindness each day and you will pass on the blessing.

 Cherry Coley ©

 

Just a Reminder

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Though the path seems dark,

be sure that the sun will shine again.

When things seem to be falling apart,

realize that they are just falling into place.

We don’t always get what we want,

Yet we usually have what we need.

Take a moment to be thankful for yet another day, another opportunity, another breath, for each one is a gift.  Take nothing for granted, for nothing is promised, be grateful and show appreciation when you can and above all this, know that you matter and are loved.

Cherry Coley (c)

 

Kindness is Far Reaching

“Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
-Leo Buscaglia

Maintain Focus

Do you know your Bible stories?

I’ve been thinking about the story of Peter walking on the water.  He was out in a boat when he saw Jesus walking on the water and asked him to be able to join him.  Jesus said, “come on.”

So Peter steps out of the boat and as long as he’s focused on Jesus he is doing the miraculous, walking on water and making good progress.  Then he starts noticing the sea spray, smelling the salty air, feeling the wind and looking at the waves.  Peter starts to sink. 

Now all Peter has to do is refocus and get back up. But instead he is focused on the circumstances, scared because he’s not paying attention, and he doesn’t see his salvation standing in front of him with his hand out.  Peter is fighting the sea and swallowing a lot of water before Jesus finally takes his hand and puts him back in the boat. 

There have been times in my life when I have been like Peter.  Losing my focus, letting things distract me, focusing on the circumstances instead of the end result and swallowing a lot of sea water as I thrashed around struggling when I really didn’t need too.

If you follow on this path of not staying focused long enough, it becomes a habit, then grows into a behavior problem that will effectively keep you stuck making the same mistakes and winding up with the same results over and over. 

I should know, there have been many times when I set off from point A to go to point B and wound up at point C wondering how I got there, but instead of going forward wound back up at point A repeating the same mistakes over and over.

So how do we change this cycle?  For me, I found a coach, an accountability partner to help me refocus when I started getting off track, to help identify choices, options, along the way as well as point out steps or smart goals to help me reach my goal without getting sidetracked.

I am still looking for a good group like this, but may wind up creating one if I can’t find one.    I would like a group to be able to share progress, brainstorm, idea’s and goals. 

The point is, if you’ve spent any time at all in your life being like Peter, then find what works for you so that going forward you are investing your time wisely, not stuck in and endless cycle repeating the same mistakes, getting distracted and losing focus so that you never reach the place you were meant to be.

Cherry Coley © 

Life is about Choices

Life is about choices.  Oh, I know we’ve all heard that before and we all know it’s true; the question is how true is it?

I have had to battle the demons from my past the last few days.  Those memories that haunt and an attitude that wants to settle around me like a dark cloud and seep into my skin to become a part of me again. 

A close friend of mine told me that I should stop writing positive drivel and write about a lot of the crap that I’ve experienced along the way.  I told him that no one would believe all the stuff I’ve been through, not that it didn’t happen, but that there is so much of it.  Truly, most people experience one or two major mishaps in life if they are unlucky enough, but I’ve had so many that even I sit and shake my head in wonder at why I am still here at times.

He also told me that I have a great talent for description and that if I have something to say then just say it.  Well, okay, but I will do it my way, not yours. 

For the last few days and especially last night, the darkness tried really hard to reassert its self and last night I went to bed feeling like I was losing the battle, that I had failed and should just write everything that happened, reliving it all in vivid detail as I did.  I had nightmares all night.

The thing is, while I was experiencing living with an abusive, narcissistic, sociopath and that was after being in a rather odd relationship with another one previously, I had become a ghost like reflection of who I once was.  In those years I was just a shell of a person functioning on the outside, putting up a good front so that things would seem normal to those who looked on. 

I still had a positive attitude even then, though I struggled with it and it was only surface deep.  I still believed in better days and that the sun would shine.  

In talking to my friend something defensive in me woke up.  It wasn’t a whimpering, sad shadow either.  He kept asking me how I could be so positive after so much.  My unwavering answer is because NO ONE CONTROLS ME!  No one controls my attitude and my outlook except ME! 

Whatever the world and life throws your way, you CAN come out stronger, better, but it’s a choice.  You have the power to CHOOSE how you apply the events and mishaps in your life.  You can learn from them and become stronger, or you can let them take you down, dwelling on them, feeling anger, revenge, helplessness, and relive them over and over.  I choose to learn, to get up and to keep going.  I choose to believe there’s more that life has to teach and offer.

I don’t just think the sun will shine again and that better days will eventually be here….I KNOW. 

For me, it’s no longer faith as much as it’s experience.  When you’re up against that cliff and there’s nothing to do but to step off the ledge, you can be sure that God is going to catch you, or teach you to fly.  The thing is that in order to go forward, you do have to move, faith is grown by action, not waiting and life is about choices.

Cherry Coley (c)

Be A Channel For Sharing

God has given us two hands – one to receive with and the other to give with.  We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing.” – Billy Graham

This quote by Billy Graham is a great reminder that we are not meant to just take in this life, but are meant to share as well.  I have been guilty of giving too much at times and not taking anything for myself. 

Life is about balance, you must have it to be healthy and feel good in general, but it’s vital to feel good about yourself.  No one can give all the time without taking the time to recharge, revitalize and fill your spiritual, physical and mental resources. 

If you don’t take the time to rest, you will quickly start to feel tired, less like running that marathon, and even weak.  It’s the same with our spiritual side – if you don’t take the time to seek solitude, pray, meditate or find your inner peace you will start to feel stress and strain more until you begin to just feel emotionally and spiritually drained.

Mental recharging is just as important!  I start to feel down if I am not stretching myself by reading or learning something new.  Seeking knowledge is more than just a hobby with me; it’s a way of life.  I have a great need to keep exercising my mind and learning new perspectives, problem solving skills and new technology. 

These are just three of the aspects of a balanced life, but I seem to have to remind myself now and then that I’ve let one thing slip a little and it’s time to take a moment to recharge that area.  You would think since we were designed for balance that it would all come naturally, but it doesn’t, that’s why it’s important to stay aware of what’s going on in our personal world. 

Interesting how it’s all set up too that we must use the balance of giving and receiving in each of these areas.  We were designed to take in knowledge, then share what we’ve learned with others, to take in spiritual experiences, and share those experiences with others who are also seeking and needing to be refreshed.  We were designed to test our limits physically, to find others along a similar path for the journey, but also to help those who need help along the way.

Take the time to be thankful for living today and then see where you are in this balancing act.  We all benefit by helping each other along the way and I’d love to hear from you!

 Cherry Coley ©